Hassoum Ceesay, a historian, has said that in the new Gambia, tourists are assured of freedom laden visits devoid of any form of security worries.
According to Ceesay, there is a new sense of openness in the country which will surprise repeaters as they in the tourist/culture sector are inviting the frequent visitors to The Gambia.
In a letter addressed to Foroyaa on the reason why visitors should come to the country, Ceesay said even the friendliest travel writers used to warn potential visitors to be aware of and avoid talking politics in the open.
“Also, tourists were warned not to venture into certain areas, not to take photos of certain people and places including public spaces as innocent as markets, for example,” Ceesay added.
The Historian continued, it is most apt to invite visitors, including foreign tourists, to return to the shores of this country for their winter break now that the democratically elected president, Adama Barrow has returned home and started work in earnest.
“First, the new sense of optimism and openness that has come with President Barrow’s accession to power is indeed worth experiencing at first hand,” he said.
According to Hassoum, any tourist with a sense of political or social activism will indeed be impressed by the sanguinity of Gambians. He stated that if before Gambians struck one as dispossessed, awkward, bored and seemingly passed over, now under the new dispensation, any visitor will enjoy their sense of homeliness, boisterousness, and empowerment. “If, before , The Gambia had the aura of an abandoned hut waiting for the termites to turn its innards into a mound of soil, now it is a hopeful house with even more caring and sharing and protecting folks,” he said.
He further said that memorabilia collectors will have a field day when they visit The Gambia in the coming weeks and months. “The December 1 elections and its terrifying 40 days aftermath have spawned a catalogue of activist based memorabilia such as the ubiquitous #GambiaHasDecided T-shirts, the Gambia flag, bills carrying the image of the new president even copies of local newspapers witnessing the historic moments unfolding in the country,” he said.
He also stated that photo journalists and other avid photographers will also have a worthwhile visit recording these happy unfolding events in the country. “A new Access to Information Act is in the offing under President Barrow, which will make our country, ‘this great nation’ as ex-president Jammeh called it, even more (foreign) journalist friendly. So, the press is invited,” he said.
18 February, he continued, will be The Gambia’s 52 independence anniversary, and the formal inauguration of the new president before his peers in and outside of the sub-region, and the large Gambian masses. Ceesay promises that it will be a great political historical and cultural fiesta which is worth experiencing by old friends and new tourists.
He said peace and normalcy has also returned to this beautiful country and therefore stressed the need to at least apologize to all those tourists who have had their beautiful stays rudely disrupted on 18 January, and had to be rushed home, for the fleeting inconvenience, and to assure them that the attractions that now awaits them here are even more than what they would have experienced.